For the second consecutive week, the No. 5 Cal men’s gymnastics team hosted No. 2 Stanford. And for the second consecutive week, the Bears fell to their Pac-12 rival, this time in an even more dominating fashion.
On Sunday at Haas Pavilion, Cal hosted both the Cardinal and No. 4 Ohio State. In a crushing third-place finish, the Bears scored more than 20 team points fewer than first-place Stanford, which amassed 445.500 points. The Buckeyes fell to second place just behind the Bay Area team with a final score of 435.500 and the home team landed behind Ohio State with a score of 425.300.
“Today’s meet was a real challenge for us,” said Cal head coach Brett McClure. “Three top five schools, competing in the same arena, it’s going to be a little bit nerve wracking and on top of that we had to make some last minute adjustments. … It was really difficult to build any momentum throughout the competition when we have fresh guys in who have never really competed before.”
The inexperience on the Bears’ side showed despite starting the competition on the floor meet with a team total of 72.700. The next event for Cal was the pommel horse and the team faltered, only accumulating a score of 66.750. A reason for the low score was that the Bears’ highest score on the event was only a 14.250 from senior Taka Kawada. Three of the other four scores on the event for Cal were under 13.000, which ended up being a major reason why the team was never able to recover from their deficit.
A team-high score for the year on rings, 71.200, gave the Bears more room to work with, assisted by four gymnasts scoring above a 14.050, including senior Kyle Zemeir scoring 14.300.
Following up the season-high performance, the Cal performers came up strong on vault, scoring their second-highest score of the day, 72.600. The Bears’ best score on the event was from senior co-captain Kevin Wolting, who had a 15.200, with four other Cal performers scoring at least a 14.150.
“We had two new guys in the vault lineup, we had no idea what to expect there and they all went out and hit 100 percent,” McClure said. “So we were really excited about that.”
For Cal’s final two events of the day, parallel bars and high bar, it scored within a very small range, amassing 70.950 and 71.100, respectively.
“A lot of guys were injured, so it’s a little nerve wracking, not knowing if you’re going to go until the very last minute,” Zemeir said. “The guys stepped up, it’s good to see the competition that is out there, it keeps us hungry for success.”